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Nordstrom coming to Ala Moana Center

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Ala Moana Center announced Monday it is bringing Hawaii's first full-line Nordstrom store to the mall.

"Nordstrom has set the standard for retail excellence, something our shoppers have come to expect from Ala Moana Center," said Dwight Yoshimura, senior vice president of General Growth Properties. "Our customers have told us for quite some time they would like to see a Nordstrom in Ala Moana Center. We're excited we can now provide it for them."

Nordstrom Shoes and Nordstrom Rack are already at Victoria Ward Centers.

"We're looking forward to finally getting the opportunity to serve long-time customers in Hawaii with a full-line store at Ala Moana Center," said Blake Nordstrom, president of Nordstrom Inc.

Founded in Seattle, Nordstrom Inc. has 149 stores across the nation.

Ala Moana Center is undergoing a multimillion-dollar expansion, expected to begin in 2005.

Other high-end fashion retailers include Chanel, Macy's, Louis Vuitton, Gucci, Cartier, Tiffany, Hermes, Fendi and Neiman Marcus.

The center is looking forward to 30 new stores and restaurants that will open sometime between next fall and spring 2005, boosting the total number of tenants to 270.

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Nordstrom is trying on Ala Moana Center for size, again, and this time believes it has found the right fit for its first full-line department store in Hawai'i.

The Seattle-based retailer yesterday announced that it has reached a preliminary agreement to build and open a 200,000-square-foot store in a deal that will expand the state's largest mall and end a 15-year quest by the department store chain for a Hawai'i location.

Nordstrom said it expects the three-story store will open in fall 2007 or spring 2008 after 18 to 24 months of construction.

The retailer and mall owner signed a letter of intent, which means important terms and details still need to be worked out, but Nordstrom said it doesn't anticipate anything that might nix the plan after two unfruitful attempts.

"We're feeling good about this," said Brooke White, a Nordstrom spokeswoman. "We're feeling it will stick."

Kama'aina shoppers yesterday said they were excited and eagerly awaiting Nordstrom's expanded presence.

"We definitely need another department store," said Kane'ohe resident Karen De Mello, 54, while shopping at Ala Moana yesterday. "Since J.C. Penney's went away we only have a few selections in apparel."

Dwight Yoshimura, general manager of Ala Moana Center, said mall customers have long said they would like to see Nordstrom at the center, and "we're excited we can now provide it."

Yoshimura said details still need to be worked on, but the general idea is to create a new mauka wing of the mall by putting the store outside the mall's existing border and adding a collection of shops that connect Nordstrom with the center's core.

The Nordstrom store is slated to be on most of the block bordered by Kapi'olani Boulevard and Kona, Ke'eaumoku and Kaheka streets

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